What if I told you that you can improve your learning efficiency by 56%? Would you be interested in knowing more about how to learn efficiently?
Okay I might have made that number up, it’s not really 56%, but the tips I will show you today will help you learn more effectively without a doubt.
Since I started implementing these tips into my own life, I have seen a dramatic change in how much more I have been able to learn every day and also retain.
I believe that the most important part of learning is not to learn a lot, but to retain what you’ve learned, so you can implement that into your life. Today we’re going to talk about a couple of things that I do that have improved my learning efficiency.
So, how do you learn efficiently?
Here is the short version:
You have to get rid of all the distractions and stop multitasking, always focus just on one thing at a time. Try to also learn with an end goal in mind, know where you want to be and who do you want to become with the information you’re learning. The next one is to take notes by hand; this will improve you with your retention. And last but not least, try to teach someone else what you want to learn, this will make sure you retain the information on a deeper level.
During the rest of this article, we’re going to look at why it’s important to learn efficiently and go more in depth on those 4 best tips on how to learn efficiently.
Why it’s important to learn efficiently
When most people start learning something, they start by just taking the information and trying to cram it up in their heads, without really a plan on how they are going to attack this topic.
We just think that if we start learning, and push ourselves to learn everything as fast as possible, we will eventually know the information and have learned everything.
Unfortunately, that’s not really the case, when we just start learning without a plan on how to learn efficiently, we waste a lot of time.
Improve your learning
Knowing how to learn efficiently will improve your learning a lot. You will have the tactics on how to take on your next learning endeavor.
Once you know all the tactics of learning effectively, you will re-use them every time you start learning something new. This loop will improve your learning over and over again.
You’ll make sure you will use the best ways to learn, you’ll remember more of the information and you will be able to recall it more easily.
Learn more and study less
If you are able to learn more efficiently, you won’t always have to study for long periods of time. You will have the tactics on how to learn more in less time.
Who really wants to actually sit in front of their books for 9 hours and just remember a little bit of it? Yeah, I don’t think a lot of people would like to spend their time like this.
With the knowledge on how to learn efficiently, your study time will decrease while your comprehension of the information will enhance.
How to learn efficiently
So I guess the question you want to get answered is: what is the most efficient way to learn?
Of course, there is not only one way to learn more efficiently but dozens of them. Like I do with all my posts, I will give you my best advice on how to learn better and I only give advice that I use myself.
These are the tips I use myself and that have helped me in my learning journey.
Get rid of distractions / no multi-tasking
Before you begin sitting down to study or learn you have to get rid of distractions around you. We all think we can do the task at hand and keep distractions on our desks. We believe we can handle our phones and still do as much as we want to. But this is far from the truth:
When we’re trying to learn but have all these distractions lying around us, we tend to look at them and spend our attention on them. Logically, we will be distracted from our learnings and we will not be able to learn as effectively. We won’t retain a lot of information because our mind is busy with something else.
To learn something efficiently, you have to get rid of all these distractions on your desk; your phone, your computer, etc.
You have to prepare your learning space before you start learning. Declutter everything that’s on your table and make sure your phone is turned off or on airplane mode. And don’t watch funny cat videos on YouTube 😉
Getting rid of distractions will put your brain in a more peaceful state and will help you focus on your learning material at hand and will improve your learning efficiency.
Learn with goals/end in mind
The next thing you have to do before you start learning is to set goals for your (self-)studying. You have to think about the reason why you’re learning and why is it important for you to learn this topic. Setting goals will motivate you to learn more and for a longer period of time. It will help you to remind yourself why you’re learning.
You don’t have to go really in-depth into setting goals and make really specific goals. Just do it as you like, and write it down somewhere, hang it up, or type it out on your computer. Set the goals however you like to set them, don’t make this too complicated as most people do.
The most important thing is that you know why you’re learning and you have an end-goal in mind. Maybe you want to become the best salesperson in your company, that’s why you’re learning sales at home. Or you want to know how become a better parent for your children so you want to learn everything there is to know about taking care of children.
Set a goal that will motivate you and will give you a reason to learn every day.
Take notes by hand
An easy tip that actually a lot of people forget is to take notes by hand. If you want to know my number one learning tip on how to learn efficiently, it would be taking notes by hand.
I see a lot of people in colleges or at home taking a lot of notes on their computer and yes it’s a really fast method for note taking but there’s a problem with that. When you take notes on your computer you will have less comprehension of the material you’re trying to study. There has been tons of research done to show us that when we take notes by hand we remember more of the information.
It will take you a little bit more time to take notes by hand in your notebook but if you look at the long-term you will retain more information. So actually, you are saving time because you don’t have to re-learn the information as many times as before because you are taking notes the proper way the first time.
So the next time you are going to learn something, grab a notebook, a pen or a pencil and just write everything down and you will learn more efficiently.
Jim Kwik even has a really good method on taking notes, check this amazing method of note-taking.
Think about teaching someone else
In my blog post on how to learn something fast, I have also given this advice and I will keep returning to it. If you want to learn efficiently, you really have to try to think about how are you going to teach this to someone else.
When you start learning something with the goal of teaching someone else later, you are trying to understand the topic from different angles because your brain is trying to figure out how you could explain it to someone else.
The best thing is to actually teach someone else the information later because it will make sure you are re-learning everything multiple times. If you don’t have someone that is willing to sit there and listen to all the information you want to explain, just start learning with the intention of teaching someone else.
This different way of looking at learning something new can drastically improve your efficiency of learning and make you remember the information way better.
You can also do what I did, and buy a rubber duck and just explain everything you learn to this rubber duck. After all my years of learning, my duck is really starting to get smart hahaha!
So there you have it, my 4 tips on how to learn more efficiently.
A small personal note on the four tips:
My advice would be, look at your own learning strategies right now and see which ones of the tips you are not applying yet and just try to apply 1 tip. See how it works for you and if it will help you learn more.
Goodluck on your learnings!